Mexican grapes set for early start, good volumes - The Packer

Mexican grapes set for early start, good volumes

04/18/2014 12:51:00 PM
Melissa Shipman

Retailers should expect Mexican grapes earlier than normal this year.

For The Giumarra Cos., Los Angeles, peak production will be from May 20 to June 15.

“Giumarra will have ample, promotable volumes for green and red seedless grapes by the end of week 20, May 16-17 loading, for the Memorial Day holiday promotions,” said Tom Wilson, grape sales manager.

Growers expect the season to begin about 10 days early.

“It appears we’re going to see an earlier start to the season than the last couple of years. The first perlettes could be at least 10 days early,” said Atomic Torosian, managing partner, Crown Jewels Produce, Fresno, Calif.

That translates to about May 1.

“We should start about May 1, as it sits right now,” Jared Lane, vice president of marketing for Bakersfield, Calif.-based Stevco Inc., said on March 11.

Last year, weather caused a delay of about a week for many growers, making this year’s early season seem even earlier.

“Last year, the harvest was a little later. To start in April will seem early,” said Steve Monroe, sales representative for Monroe & Sons Produce Distributors, Bakersfield, Calif.

Having grapes earlier in the season affects the overall timing of the deal.

“Usually only about 15% of the crop comes off in May. This year, we may get 20%,” said Jerry Havel, director of sales and marketing, Fresh Farms, Nogales, Ariz.

Supplies look to be good so far.

“We anticipate good volume on all varieties and sizes and colors,” Havel said. “If anything will be down at all, it will probably be in green, but only slightly."

John Pandol, special projects director for Delano, Calif.-based Pandol Bros. Inc., said the early start will likely mean an early end to the Mexican grape deal as well.

“On the back end, we assume the last guys will finish a little early. I don’t think we’ll see a lot of grapes crossing in July,” Pandol said.

He expects the supply to be available for promotions around July Fourth and possibly the week beyond that, but volume will begin to dwindle soon after.

Of course, that all depends on the market.

Lane said the early start could mean the season will last longer.

“If we’re starting 10 days earlier than normal, that may give us a longer time to market Mexican grapes,” he said.

Havel agrees, comparing this year to last year.
“Last year, it all came off at about the same time, so this looks to be a much more manageable harvest, spread from early May to late June, making the season a little longer,” he said.

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